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Last Updated on 26 September 2011


Earliest inhabitant and first King according to tradition, was Inopion, the son of Dionissos or Thisseus and Ariadne, who came from Crete and taught the locals how to grow vines.

The name of Chios comes from Chiona, who was the daughter of Inopion. According to Ion, however, the name comes from Hios, the son of Neptune, at the birth of whom, too much snow (hioni) fell on the island.

According to a third option by the historian Isidoros, the name Chios comes from the Phoenicians and, in Syrian language, it means "mastic".

The island was at times mentioned by other names as well, which were lost in time, such as Pitioussa (because of its pines), Makris because of its shape (Makri = long), Aethalea (because of its volcano) and Ofioussa (because of the many snakes = ofis, on it).

The archaeological findings (at Ag. Galas and Emporios) prove that the island has been inhabited since 6.000 B.C .

About the city of Chios there is some evidence earlier than the first Ionian colonization when the Ionians from the mainland inhabited Chios around 1000 B.C. and developed it into one of the greatest cities of the ancient times. Chios was one of the 12 city states on the mainland of Asia Minor and some near located islands constituing the Ionian Confederacy, also known as Panionian Dodecapolis.

Not only did Chians make a profit by transporting goods from one place to another, but also by trading on their own agricultural and industrial production. The unique mastic was not the only source of wealth. In the seventh century BC Malas establishes the famous Chios School of Sculpture and a number of great sculptores Mikkiades, Bupalos, Archermos, Athenis, Maalas and Glavkos were graduates of the school.

In the 6th century BC Chios was a large city, the population of which is estimated at 60.000 -80.000 people not counting the slaves.

When Chios became a member of the Athenean Allience, it was free and self -governed.

Until the Peloponesian War, there was a five -year period of peace and growth. The destroyed city was rebuilt and the inhabitants progressed in navy, commerce, accumulated on the island, which resulted in extreme luxury.

Athineos mentions that the Chians were famous for their ingenuity in cookery and the Chian cooks were dearly south after. Thoukidides characterizes the Chians as the "richest among Greeks" and praises the state of their city.

The Peloponesian war followed, during which the Chians fought at first together with Athenians.

After their defeat in Sicilia, however, they defected and declared their support of Sparti. Spartians imposed "dekarhia" (ten tyrants) and a general ruler, so Chios knew again the vices of tyranny and violence. They lost all their ships, which were now the Spartians. The Chians regretted their defecting from the Athenians, very bitterly.

In the Hellenistic Era the famous historian from Chios, Theopompos, joins Alexander the Great on his pursuit and records all the valuable facts for posterity.

In Roman Times Chios again suffered as its wealth and accesibility was too great a temptation, althought certain Roman Emperors, especially Tiberius, helped the islanders, shortly before the birth of Christ, when it suffered an earthquake. During the byzantine period chios regained its comercial power, thanks to its shipping fleet. The byzantines did their best to defend Chios against the invaders from the East and West, but finally lost it to Venetians and later to Genoese who held the island firmly until 1566. the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus, came to Chios and stayed for two years.

Since 1566 the new occupants, the Turks, replaced the Genoans. The Turkish occupation lasted 350 years (1566 -1912). In 1821, Greece began their revolution against the Ottoman Empire.

After 400 years of slavery in their mother land, the Greeks took strength and fought for their independence.

At this time Chios did not take any part. They were a peaceful people that had devoted their lives to the cultivation of MASTIC. This product was mostly sold to the Sultan and because of this the people were given more privileges than the rest of Greece and slavery was less difficult.

Regardless of these privileges, the people of Chios stood proud and rebelled against the Ottoman empire.

In March of 1822, Likourgos Logothetis, of Samos, led his army of 2,500 men and conquered Turkeys garrison.

When the Sultan heard word of this he ordered his leading commander Kara-Ali and his fleet, to invade Chios and punish the people of Chios.

Kara-Ali disembarked 7,000 soldiers and slaughtered many of the people of the island. Not only did the people of Chios suffer from the barbarian army of Kara-Ali but also beard brutal punishment from the Ottoman army that hit from Asia Minor. In a short period of time catastrophe had hit the beautiful Agean island and the residents had either been slaughtered, but had been taken prisoners and later sold as slaves.

The population of 100,000 Greeks, only 40,000 were able to flee to neighboring islands or mountains. The people that fled to the mountains soon after were forced to leave the island as well. By the end of August the population of Chios was down to 3,000 people.

The news of the barbarian slaughter reached the rest of Greece very quickly and to neighboring European countries. Only then did the nations around the world understand the importance and the justification of Greece's independance from the Ottoman empire.

Since the Greeks were not able to stop the destruction of the island of Chios by Kara-Ali, they decided to seek revenge against him. To lead the revengeful mission was brave Constandinos Kanaris, naval commander, from the island of Psara.

The enemy fleet, even after having destroyed the island of Chios, was still anchored in the islands port. Celebrations for the Muslim holidays had coincided with the destruction of Chios. The Ottoman commander and sailors had stayed on their vessel to begin the holiday celebrations. More over the disastrous earthquake in March 1881 turns everything into debris.

On June 4th, 1882, Kanari along with another naval commander and his ship, Pipino, left from the island of Psara with their fire ships.

Karani surrounded Kara-Ali's fleet and Pipino surrounded the lower fleet. After setting anchor and lighting fire to their ships, they deserted their ships and sailed to shore safely in small emergency boats. The enemy ships noticed Pipino's fleet and were there on time to extinguish it.

Although, Kanaris' fleet was in blazes and soon enough the enemy ships had caught fire and began to explode as fireworks in the sky. This victory took 1600 lives. This encouraging victory gave strength to the Greeks for their independance and from here on all battles were fought with zeal and conviction for their freedom.

By the time of Balkan battles in 11 of November 1912 Chios is finally free and connected with the rest of Greek cities. Chios was again under a foreign occupation in 4 of May 1941 when it was seized by the Germans.

The German occupation was ended in 10 of September 1944 and during this period Chian people were heroically resisted.